Unconventional Greats discussion

Literary Depression

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message 1: by Oddmix (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:00PM) (new)

Oddmix | 7 comments Mod
What is the most depressing book you have ever (been made to) read?

For me it is a toss up between Where the Red Fern Grows and East of Eden.

message 2: by Andrea (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:00PM) (new)

Andrea (andiesmith) oh Where the Red Fern Grows is up there on the list! I think The Bridges of Madison County is pretty sad too.

message 3: by Erin (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:00PM) (new)

Erin | 3 comments Where the Red Fern Grows was read aloud to us by my 4th grade teacher over the course of several weeks. At the end I cried and cried (and was HUMILIATED). What a bunch of hooey. Why do we give stories like that to kids?

Little Women was pretty depressing. And The Yearling. It seems like animal stories always have to end with the animal dying. What's up with that?

message 4: by Belinda (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:00PM) (new)

Belinda | 7 comments OK, I confess, I *DO* love all that classic literature, and you listed some of my favorite authors in the group description. BUT: I am also a huge fan of brain-candy!

To me, "sad" is not the same as "depressing." A book with a sad ending does not automatically depress me. Tom Wolfe's "The Bonfire of the Vanities" was pretty depressing, but it was a great read.

For most depressing, I'd have to go with something English, and probably Victorian, like Wuthering Heights. Which I LOVE. ;-)

I was depressed when I read The Devil Wears Prada, and realized I could never have back the time I wasted on it.

message 5: by Andrea (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:01PM) (new)

Andrea (andiesmith) OMG I felt the same way about The Devil Wears Prada!!!

message 6: by Oddmix (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:01PM) (new)

Oddmix | 7 comments Mod
I would agree that a sad ending does not translate directly to depressing. I think that it is POINTLESS saddness that really gets me down. Ptolemy's Gate is a good example of a very sad ending that is not at all depressing. So are Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, The Killer Angels, The Watch on the Rhein, and Red Storm Rising - which are all amongst my all time favorites.

On the other hand in E-of-E, for example, I was constantly wanting to scream, "No! You idiot! Don't do that!" and they always did and it always turned out badly and everything always went into the crapper along with my outlook. Yech!

message 7: by Michael (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:10PM) (new)

Michael | 5 comments I took a course in college titled European Literature. it should have been titled "books to slit your wrists by"

Sorrows of Young Werther, Madame Bovary, Therese Requin, Crime & Punishment, and a few others with only Anna Kerrennina standing out as teh bright spot of hope in a semester of dark and gritty dreariness

message 8: by Tory (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:11PM) (new)

Tory | 4 comments I'm not sure that depressing is the right word, but Sophie's Choice by William Styron left me feeling rather blah. It was emotionally draining.

message 9: by Jason (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:57PM) (new)

Jason (gireesh42) I dunno about the book of Therese Raquin, but I've read the play, and the sad ending just becomes melodramatically hilarious. I know this is a conventional "classic," but Thomas Hardy has to win this competition hands down with Jude the Obscure.
I mean how can you get more depressing than small children hanging themselves and their baby siblings because they think their parents don't love them.

message 10: by Dracolibris (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:00PM) (new)

Dracolibris | 1 comments My worst semester in high school English class was the one in which I had to read Brave New World, 1984, Grapes of Wrath and Winesburg, Ohio. I remember being highly depressed and cynical about the future after those not-so-fun assignments.

message 11: by John (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:24PM) (new)

John (easyreeder) Last Exit to Brooklyn made me want to puke. How about books that make you disgorge? The Giving Tree is also pretty grim. When my kid wants to read that, I cower.

message 12: by Megan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:26PM) (new)

Megan | 2 comments For me, it's got to be The Red Pony.

Because I like horses, my parents encouraged me to read it ... and what a horrible story! A lonely, sensitive boy wants a horse of his own to be a firend and companion, gets a pony who he loves desperately ... and then it gets sick, and dies.

Oh wait, that's not the end!

The *very next day* is his first day of school. He gets on the bus, sits down next to another boy ... and tada! Problem solved.

Why mourn the loss of a beloved pet when you can make friends instantly with your seat-mate on the bus?

Hate, hate, hate Steinbeck. Hate, hate, hated the Grapes of Wrath, too ... but The Red Pony just wore me down. That's what people think makes a good kids book? What message is that?

Don't love animals, because you can make friends with real people? Ugh.

Sorry for the rant.

message 13: by Alex (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:42PM) (new)

Alex (alex_s11) | 2 comments I'd have to say "A Farewell to Arms". The book in its entirety is not extremely depressing but the ending, in and of itself, was very sad to me.

message 14: by Joanne (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:45PM) (new)

Joanne i really liked crime and punishment. and although it was bleak i thought the ending was really quite positive. east of eden and grapes of wrath, too. horrible things happen in them, and the characters struggle, but in the end i felt uplifted by all these books.
to me one of the most depressing books ever is a fine balance by rohinton mistry. and although it held my interest to the very end and was easy to read, at the end i just cried. it just got me down.

message 15: by Michael (new)

Michael | 5 comments Sorrows Of Young Werther, or Madame Bovary, or Therease Requinne

all utterly "make me want to slit my wrists" depressing

message 16: by Victoria (new)

Victoria For me right off the top of my head " The Yearling " was the most depressing book. I dont understand why it is such a classic that children need to read ! I did not read it till I was 15 and it still upset me. Some books can be sad and uplifting at the same time , "the last of the mohicans " By James finmore cooper for example. Very sad events take place , but you dont want to curl up in a ball and rock your self back and forth from reading it ! :)

I have never read the red pony , but I saw the movie when I was little and was absolutly HORRIFIED ! Talk about scaring little children !

I read "the return of the native" by Thomas Hardy and have writen him off as sad/depressing.

message 17: by Tya (new)

Tya | 1 comments "While I Was Gone" by Sue Miller is my current stay away from book. It's on Oprah's book club and i so wanted to be in the loop on what Miss O was reading... But maaan... talk about depressing the hell out of me.

Sure some points are well made in the book, but ugh... did it have to come from such a sad and twisted chain of events? It's true that Sue Miller captures detail like no other, but that makes it worse because you feel the gritty realism of it all.

The main character meets an old acquaintance, some old skeletons surfaces, an old flame ignited... a stupid move or two were made and BAM!! a family is ruined... it's like opening a can of worms... and then worms EVERYWHERE!!!

message 18: by J.M. (new)

J.M. Porup (jmporup) | 2 comments The Road was pretty damn depressing.

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